‘The Counselor’ is a Disappointment

After coming in fourth in the box office this weekend with $7.8 million and scoring a depressingly low 34% on Rotten Tomatoes, things are looking pretty bleak for “The Counselor”. Directed by award-winning Ridley Scott and starring talents like Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt, this star-studded thriller is anything but thrilling. The film chronicles the downward spiral of The Counselor (Fassbender), a lawyer who invests in a large-scale drug deal that goes horribly wrong.

“The Counselor” features a great performance from Fassbender and Pitt, but Cruz and Diaz fail to make their characters believable or interesting. Cruz plays Laura, The Counselor’s helpless fiancé, without much emotional range or interest, which fails to make the audience care for the state of her character. Diaz is Malkina, the girlfriend of The Counselor’s partner Reiner (Bardem) and ultimately the most disappointing performance in the whole film. However, most of that can be attributed to the wordy, overdone script. She is supposedly the evil mastermind behind the deal, but her lines are cheesy and lack depth. Diaz lacks the authority to portray an intimidator and the entire performance feels very unbelievable and unsettling.

The screenplay isn’t kind to the basic audience and requires a lot of focus to pick up on the subtleties that explain future plot points. Some scenes seem to serve no purpose, other than unnecessary and poorly presented character development. Long monologues are frequent and boring. Some are even delivered by characters barely introduced, which diminish their effect. With some editing, the film could have been half an hour shorter and the storyline would not have suffered.

While “The Counselor” has its moments of interest and a well-known cast, it is not enough to save the film from a boring script that seems to try too hard.

‘The Counselor’ debuted well below expectations at the weekend box office. The film earned $7 million during its opening weekend, but on a $25 million production budget the film could still break even after foreign totals are added in.

“The Counselor” is rated R for graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content, and language.